Like the 1963 LP Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall, this was recorded in front of a devoted and enthusiastic live audience at Carnegie Hall on May 12, 1963. It isn't just unworthy leftovers, but a strong set in its own right, concentrating on material that could be seen as traditional or folk in orientation. It's not exactly strictly folk music, in repertoire or arrangement (which includes piano, guitar, bass, and drums, though not every tune has all of the instruments); "Twelfth of Never" certainly isn't folk music. However, there was also an uptempo piano blues, Leadbelly's "Silver City Bound"; covers of the Israeli "Erets Zavat Chalav" and "Vanetihu" which served as further proof that Simone's eclecticism knew no bounds; and the stark, moody, spiritually shaded ballads at which she excelled ("When I Was a Young Girl," "Hush Little Baby"). "Lass of the Low Country" is as exquisitely sad-yet-beautiful as it gets. by Richie Unterberger/AMG
Pianist and singer Nina Simone defied categorization by blending classical, jazz and popular music into an unconventional and highly personal idiom: over four decades, she galvanized audiences with albums and performances replete with deep passion and keen attention to emotion.
Fiercely honest, Simone was admired for her eccentricity and individualism. She was known for her spirited personality on and off the stage, which included flirting with audience members and voicing her opinions about social topics of the time. Eric Wendell/ jazz.com
Review: Hi Fi Choice, April 2015 HOT PICK! by Jason Kennedy
Recorded in the same year and at the same venue as Simone’s much vaunted At Carnege Hall, this collection of nine pieces has a core of folk tunes, but is not exclusively of that ilk. It starts with Leadbelly’s Blues about Blind Lemon, Silver City Bound, and takes in two Israeli tunes and the standard Twelfth Of Never, which is taken slowly and then sung with a sophisticated and emotion that gives it a real beauty.
The second side starts with The Young Knight, a bawdy tale with an unusually feminist angle, and finishes with two “Children’s Song” and is played in such open, assured yet fragile style that he last number, Pete Seeger’s “Hush Little Baby” , is one of the finest on the album. It’s sung very quietly which draws you in, and there is a constant fine interplay between piano and guitar that gives it filigree detail.
The sleeve notes suggest that the atypical Lass Of The Low Country is a real highlight but I am more impressed with When I Was A Young Girl, a down tempo blues that is steeped in misery and so suits Simone to the ground. The sound is stereo and has some space in it, but suffers from a crudeness that is largely a reflection of its 1963 vintage, this however does nothing to undermine the peerlessness of the performance. JK